CORNWALL, Ontario – Marc Lafleur started truLOCAL five years ago, a meat subscription service. After an unprecedented year of growth, truLOCAL has now been acquired by EMERGE Commerce Ltd., an investment company specializing in niche e-commerce brands for $16.8 million.
Lafleur, a graduate of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School located just outside of Cornwall in South Glengarry. Recently turned 30-years-old, Lafleur told Seaway News that his time at the school helped shape him and his ambitions.
“I was failing most of my classes and most people didn’t think I would make it out of Holy Trinity. It wasn’t until my last couple years at HT that I started getting my life together and realizing that I wanted more for myself,” Lafleur wrote in an email to Seaway News. “My friends and the Holy Trinity staff had a big part to play in it and I know that them being there for me during that time was a game changer for me getting the confidence needed to go after ambitious goals. Gaining confidence at a young age is something more people need to focus on because without the confidence, you can’t learn to take action, and if you aren’t taking action, there’s no chance you’ll ever be able to achieve.”
Lafleur said that post-acquisition he will be remaining with the company and that the company’s mission will remain the same, but with more potential for future growth.
“Our mission remains the same, to connect as many people as possible to Canada’s hard-working producers and suppliers, and we feel that with this partnership we will be in a better position to accomplish that mission,” Lafleur wrote. “There’s was a lot of interest in truLOCAL from buyers, but one of the main things that was most important to me was no changes to the team or to our mission. This team came together to build truLOCAL over the past five years and we intended to see that through to the end.”
truLOCAL generated revenue of approximately $19.8 million for 2020 as of Dec. 31, which is a 130 per cent increase from the previous year.
“In truLOCAL, we have acquired a profitable market leader in the lucrative food tech space that happens to be one of the fastest growing companies in Canada,” said EMERGE Founder and CEO, Ghassan Halazon. “Throughout the pandemic, online shopping for groceries, and meats in particular, has been a bestselling vertical across both EMERGE and the e-commerce sector at large, sparking our strategic interest in the category, and eventually leading us to the formidable business that is truLOCAL under Marc’s leadership.”
truLOCAL is based in Kitchener, with offices and facilities in Vancouver, Calgary, and Chicago, but Lafleur said that the company gets strong support from Cornwall as well.
“We actually have a lot of Cornwall customers. I can’t say numbers but I can say that the amount of customers we have in Cornwall is disproportionately larger than other cities of the same population,” he wrote. “Not sure if it’s because people in Cornwall like good meat or supporting local, or if it’s because I’m from Cornwall, but either way truLOCAL has always felt the love from the people of Cornwall.”